Sunday, August 5, 2007

Audrey Fildes

This picture was taken by Cecil Beaton in 1944 and the subject is actress Audrey Fildes (Kind Hearts and Coronets, 1949). I met Audrey when I was 21 and she was in her 60s. She had had a fascinating path: grand-daughter of Sir Luke Fildes, R.A., she became a successful stage actress, working with Alec Guinness and John Gielgud among many others. By 28 she had retired to marry and have children. She emigrated early to Canada with her family and that is where I met her years later. It was a while before I found out about her theatrical background. Instead she had spent several years studying and working in the restoration of picture frames. I have to admit I'd never thought much about them, but I have never looked at them the same way since and realize to this day the importance of frames, and their restoration for the sake of the picture they offset.

So dribs and drabs of her earlier life were only carefully meted out as she didn't live in the past. I had no idea Cecil Beaton had photographed her and I am working on finding a good-sized version of this picture. She took an interest in broadening my horizons, taking me to see Bertolucci's 1900 (1976), Germain Greer in conversation, extolling the benefits of love affairs and the extreme importance of kegel exercises. I believe Kind Hearts and Coronets was just one of two films she made. She didn't like the process, and said that filming was like one long rehearsal; she never had the idea of something complete as she did in the theatre. She never regretted leaving her acting career behind at 28 and didn't consider going back to it. We lost touch after her 70th birthday, which we celebrated together. She died not long after which, in hindsight, was far too young.

1 comment:

Cowboy said...

It is interesting the tibits of information one discovers about the author when perusing her old posts...You will have to expound upon the "importance of love affairs & keigel exercises. My curiosity is piqued.